I am a 33-year-old woman who has suffered with PMDD for many years, only to have been misdiagnosed as having depression, bipolar, borderline personality disorder and almost everything else under this broad medical scope of mental health. About a year ago I went to my PCP and demanded that they figure out what was wrong with me because after having been on many different medications absolutely nothing was working and my symptoms were worsening with age and suicidal thoughts were becoming much more frequent, but only for the first week or so before my period. Once my period started all symptoms were gone and I felt like my normal happy self.
Finally, I was diagnosed with PMDD and my doctor placed me on birth control. My symptoms diminished, but after a year or so I noticed that the anxiety and mood swings had returned with a vengence. After having a final episode of anxiety so bad that I couldn't be breathe and feeling completely psychotic and very suicidal I went back to my doctor and again demanded more answers and another form of treatment. I told her that it had gotten to the point that I wasn't going to be able to make it through another attack and I feared for my life as it was becoming harder to rationalize during these episodes.
She explained to me that PMDD, just like PMS, is all related to our hormones. My case had become so severe that she thought my body just couldn't take even the slightest shift in hormones and she placed me on a 12 week cycle of birth control so that I only got my period 4x a year and this would hopefully make it easier on me and help me to better control and cope with the anxiety and mood swings. So far the results have been nothing short of a miracle. She also placed me on fluoxetine, but I haven't seen any extra benefit from that and have remained stable only using the birth control, which is the generic form of Seasonique, not Yaz.
My latest side effect now is melasma, which is also known as the "pregnancy mask". I have been using creams to try to control it, but it will not go away and probably won't unless I stop the birth control. Either way I lose. I do not want either of these symptoms in my life and am becoming depressed with having to make a choice.
So my question is where do PMDD sufferers turn to for answers and why hasn't there been more research done? This is a very serious disorder for women and I am willing to bet that there have been actual suicides due to PMDD. This doesn't just affect the person suffering from it either. Family, friends, coworkers and even strangers suffer the consequences of being around a woman in her "dysphoric state". This is a horrible disorder to have and it seems like the medical/mental profession has just put it to the way side, almost like it doesn't matter because it cyclic and "goes away" after a woman starts her menses.
I have tried to find active case studies on the disorder and would highly consider participating in a study to discover more about this disorder if it meant peace for me and my family and for others who have to go through this every month. I know that hormones are very complicated and individually based, but there has to be something else out there worth trying, especially when you are fighting for your life and peace of mind.
I am a PMDD sufferer and I want more answers to my questions and I want to see that the medical community takes this more seriously. If anyone has any suggestions/comments or would like to just share their frustrations too, please blog back. Thank you.